At Lakeland University, every faculty member, no matter his or her field, is a member of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program, and almost all Lakeland traditional undergraduate teachers participate in the courses of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program. This is because, as its name implies, “Interdisciplinary Studies” stands as the most important part of our curriculum, unifying all the others. Simply put, it represents the University’s and its faculty members’ dedication to our school’s liberal arts tradition.
The Interdisciplinary Studies Program comprises those parts of the curriculum that are required of all Lakeland graduates—the classes and course sequences that one must complete regardless of one’s major. These common courses and requirements reflect Lakeland’s commitment to providing students (1) with the foundational skills they need to succeed in college and beyond, (2) with experiences across a breadth of fields and areas of learning, and (3) with the ability to think critically and to bring those forms of knowledge to bear on issues within their chosen programs, the larger community, and their own lives.
To accomplish its goals, the Interdisciplinary Studies Program includes three distinct kinds of coursework and sets of requirements, each of which is detailed below:
- College Skills. These courses prepare students for college work, establishing the essential communicative and quantitative skills that will serve them throughout and beyond their undergraduate careers.
- Distributional Studies. These requirements expand students’ intellectual horizons, exposing them to multiple areas of study, to styles of thinking and exploration that span the curriculum, and thus to diverse perspectives on the world and their place in it.
- The Critical Thinking Core Sequence. This series of courses brings focused skills and breadth of inquiry into a single classroom, with classes specially designed to foster critical thinking and help students both to appreciate and to utilize multiple points of view.
Together, these requirements produce graduates who are able to communicate clearly, reason intelligently, and respond knowingly to issues and questions across academic disciplines. As a central component of Lakeland’s educational philosophy, the Interdisciplinary Studies curriculum is dedicated to the idea that all college students profit from having a broad foundation of academic skills and experiences, the capacity to comprehend and make connections among diverse perspectives, and the willingness to build on that foundation throughout their lives.